Date of Award

Spring 2019

Call Number

GV711 .B535 2018

Document Type

USM Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Sharon Timberlake PhD

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Goryunova PhD

Third Advisor

Dan Jenkins PhD


sport specialization, coaches in youth sport, coach's communication with parents and athletes, drawbacks of sport specialization, advantages of sport specialization, Leadership and Organizational Studies


Sadly, the days of playing outside in the mud, building cabins, eating di~er as a family, pizza nights, and family vacations are all but a memory. Children used to participate in organized sport throughout the school-year. Summer months and school vacation weeks were filled with the simplicities of life and the boredom that sometimes came with being a teenager. Telephone answering machines have replaced the direct communication that families and children used to enjoy. These days seem to be lost to the hustle and bustle of today's busy world, especially the time and commitment it takes to participate in specialized sports. In the past, it was considered normal for a young boy or girl to participate in more than one sport throughout their athletic career. Children are shifting from participating in multiple sports to participating solely in one sport. Many of our youth, are deciding to focus on one sport early on in their careers and this decision is leading to burnout, injuries, and lower participation numbers. Coaches have a responsibility to educate and lead young athletes to understand the risk factors associated with sport specialization. Coaches have great power in the decision-making process for team selection, playing time, and elite showcase selection. The transformation of a multisport athlete to a sport specialized athlete may have caused great concern for sport related injuries, financial hardships and burnout.


This thesis is restricted to USM access only.